Microvascular Endothelial Cells

Endothelial Cell Biology

Small blood vessel function and tone is regulated by critical components of the vessel wall including cellular components such as the endothelium and the vascular smooth muscle cells and structural components such as collagen and elastin fibres.  Our research focuses on the molecular basis of vascular/endothelial changes in pathological conditions such as diabetes and cancer metastasis.  

The main research focus of my group is endothelial cell biology; more specifically the role of changes in the endothelium of small vessels in diabetic microangiopathy and tumour metastasis.  We isolate and/or culture several types of mammalian endothelial cells, including microvascular endothelial cells from the retina, brain and omentum.  This allows us to study, in vitro, disease-specific models utilizing endothelial cells from relevant vascular beds.

Current Research:

  • pro-metastatic cross talk between omental microvascular endothelial cells and ovarian cancer cells (with Nicholas  Gutowski and Mike Hannemann, Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare Trust)
  • alterations in cerebral endothelial cell adhesion molecule expression induced by lung tumour cells  (with Nick Gutowski, Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare Trust)
  • the role of the gaseous transmitter hydrogen sulfide in preventing detrimental retinal endothelial glycocalyx changes in diabetes (with M Whiteman, University of Exeter Medical School; Dave Bates, University of Nottingham and Simon Satchell, University of Bristol)
  • mechanisms of action of incretin based anti-diabetic therapies in the human vasculature (with K Gooding, University of Exeter Medical School)
  • the impact of diabetes on the mechanical properties of the structural components of small vessel walls in diabetes (with A Shore and K Kos,  University of Exeter Medical School, Peter Winlove, Biomedical Physics, University of Exeter and Philippe Young, Engineering, University of Exeter)